Interviews



November 19, 2012

Today, I am delighted to share this blog with Hosho Mccreesh, who paints and writes--poetry, fiction and non-fiction.  Hosho, tell us something about yourself:

I live, work, write, and paint in the desert southwest -- only three of which I like at any time. The thing I hate changes--of living, working, writing, and painting the thing I usually hate is working...but not always. Sometimes I hate writing, sometimes I hate painting, and sometimes I am not too happy with living. But those times are very rare. It's a line that speaks to the fact that rarely, if ever, do we get all the pieces of our lives in pure harmony.

How about your writing?

I've made my bones in poetry. It's what I've published the most of, and that will continue. I have a new book AND TURNS STILL THE SUN AT DUSK BLOOD-RED due from Bottle of Smoke Press soon, and next summer I have a giant collection of "drunk poems" called A DEEP & GORGEOUS THIRST slated for release. I am very excited about both. The first is poems and paintings, and co-authored by Christopher Cunningham. The drunk poems cover every drunken story, memory, or time I could remember hearing of, or being involved in...and it's drastically different than all of my previous poetry.

As a writer, I believe we need to constantly push ourselves, constantly work in new directions, all the while getting closer to the center of ourselves. It takes guts to write honestly about our human experiences -- in particular the ones that make us look bad. But to hell with fear; that's my advice. Write what you must, write what makes you feel uncomfortable...it's how you know you're getting close.

In terms of Non-Fiction -- I co-authored a book of letters, SUNLIGHT AT MIDNIGHT, DARKNESS AT NOON, again with Christopher Cunningham.

As for fiction -- Mendicant Bookworks published a story of mine, and I am slowly publishing some short stories via www.smashwords.com -- experimenting with eBooks. I hope to put out a print collection in the not too distant future. I'm also working on 4 different novella projects: CHINESE GUCCI, EXPATRIATES, CORMORANT FISHING IN AMERICA, and RANK STRANGER. Having never finished a project like this, I don't know how close I am to being done with any of them. But I love what I've got so far, and I love where the books are headed, so I'll just keep plugging away on them.

Can you say something about the inspiration you have found to write?

The first, last, and most important inspiration for a writer is feeling, deep down, that you have something profound to say, and that no one can say it as well as you can. You might not be right -- you might be delusional -- but you have to believe in your work with everything you are. Otherwise, don't bother. Read some great books. And read some awful books -- at least until you get pissed that some schmuck wrote the damn thing, throw it against the wall, and go write your own books. No one will help you much, and very few people will care about your work. Accept that, and keep writing anyway.

How about some words of wisdom for other (Indie) writers?

I always feel bad giving people advice on how to be a writer. One, I don't really know anything...I've been writing for 15+ years and have no idea how to be a writer -- other than by writing, and trying, and hoping, and not giving up. Second, it's so utterly impossible to "make it" (at least the way most people, myself included, dreamed of "making it") -- that it feels irresponsible to talk about it as if it is something that can actually happen.

The average reader probably knows who Snookie is, but they don't know Carson McCullers. And if Carson were alive today, her books (if she got lucky enough to have them published) would be remaindered and pulped, while Snookie's sat on high-traffic endcaps in every Barnes and Noble. This is the cold, hard truth of modern publishing. Literature doesn't matter. Poetry doesn't matter. And even short stories don't matter. You have to want to write despite that cold, hard truth.

Aside from that, I think you have to know what you want to write -- and to write it without wavering. Stop worrying about "making it" and just live your life. That prepares you better than almost anything, to write.

Last, I'd say all that matters is your vision...writing what you want to write. To hell with "the marketplace" and "making it" and worrying about agents or publishers or how to make your work appeal to a broader audience. To hell with buying ads, and paying to promote your Tweets, or making a Facebook banner ad -- to hell with selling books even. Just write. And read. And write. And write. The rest will take care of itself, or it won't.

This suggests strong feelings about say "marketing efforts":

I clearly have no idea how to market anything. I hate trying to sell things. I hate feeling like I'm supposed to convince someone to appreciate my work. It makes me feel like I'm some kind of cheapjack door-to-door vacuum salesman. The entire world is overrun by the dull, white noise of commerce and there is no trick to "break through" or "stand out." The only way a writer succeeds is through readers. We win readers one person at a time. If someone gambles on one of our books, and they like it--they'll often tell someone. If they don't like it, they won't. That's it. No amount of marketing, or blurbs, or ads, or anything can change that simple fact. At this point, I think it's silly to worry about that stuff. It is beyond our control anyway. The best you can do is write as well as you can write, make yourself available to readers as much as you can -- social media or whatever -- and who knows, maybe something will happen. Probably not, but who knows... What matters is the writing. And you owe every new reader who gambles on your books your very best.

LINKS

Website
Author's Profile on Smashwords
Facebook
Twitter
Tumblr

Marching Unabated into the Weeping Searing Sun
For All These Wretched, Beautiful...
4th Street Vagaries
An Adamant, Unmitigated Hope Even Amidst the Doom
Sunlight at Midnight, Darkness at Noon







November 12,2012

I am pleased to welcome as our guest today Marquita Herald, who is a "transformation guide"--would you like to say something about that?

I specialize in helping people create meaningful life change as indicated in my blog Inspired Gift Giving-Tips, Tools & Tantalizing Ideas.  I am the author of three books: Stepping Stones to Greater Resilience, Inspirational Words of Wisdom for Challenging Times, and It’s Your Time Now - A Guide to Living Your Life by Design.  Prior to becoming an Indie Author my professional background included a successful 20 year career in hotel sales and marketing followed by a decade as a life and small business coach.

I’m originally from California, but moved to Maui when I was quite young and have now lived here longer than I did on the mainland; so in a very real sense I consider Maui my hometown.  In addition to my writing, I am an artist, hula dancer (seriously) and avid supporter of the Hawaiian culture.  I am a voracious reader, enjoy golf, and taking long walks with my dog Lucy.

Would you tell us something about your books?

Stepping Stones to Greater Resilience - Empowering You to Create Your Own Life Experience
Resilience is that characteristic that enables us to bounce back stronger than ever from adversity. It strengthens self-esteem, helps prevent depression and enhances relationships. When we can begin to look at all experiences as stepping stones for growth, we are able to realign ourselves with what is really important in our lives, and in the process strengthen confidence in ourselves and our abilities.

Inspirational Words of Wisdom for Challenging Times - Motivational Quotes and Life Lessons to Lift the Spirit When You Need it Most
When faced with life's inevitable challenges or an unexpected detour, it is far too easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking. Inspirational Words of Wisdom for Challenging Times contains hundreds of carefully selected motivational quotes and life lessons to celebrate life and the power of resiliency.

It’s Your Time Now - A Guide to Living Your Life by Design
There are really only two ways to live. You can glide along and let things happen, reacting to whatever comes your way - or, you can be an active participant in your own life - making intentional choices and decisions, creating focus and direction, and turning dreams into reality. The question is, where do you begin to create meaningful change when you're already up to your eyeballs with relationships, commitments and emotional baggage?
With the belief that you deserve and are capable of becoming all that you are meant to be. In fact, as you begin living with intention you become more aware of the power you have to choose, how to take advantage of the opportunities in adversity, cultivate the confidence to determine the direction of your life, and the courage to own your choices - no excuses, no regrets. 

What inspires you to write?

I’ve always been a writer. When I wasn’t writing for myself, my employer of the moment made sure I was writing for them. I’ve written everything from sales brochures, to press releases, scripts for travel industry promo films to a book on nutritional programs for Hui No Ke Ola Pono, a local Hawaiian nonprofit.  I was compelled to finally make the leap to published author as a result of the feedback and encouragement from my readers and fellow bloggers.

Any words of wisdom for other writers?

Just do it. Seriously, I’m in a lot of writer/author groups and when I hear someone keep talking about how they want to be a writer, or they intend to write a book, I can’t help but reflect on advice a seasoned author gave me at the first writer’s conference I ever attended. I’d just uttered those infamous words - I want to be a writer some day - and she looked at me and said, “You are already a writer, now you have to do the work to let the world know what you have to say.”

And that leads me to ask about your preferred marketing efforts...

My blog serves as my branding tool and the basis for growing my platform. In addition, I’m active in a variety of author and reader groups and with article marketing. I’ve recently begun doing guest posts. I’d like to do more of that in the future, and maybe give a virtual book tour a try.

Links to books
Stepping Stones


November 5, 2012

Today's author is Suzanne van Rooyen who writes a genre that is entirely new to me, cyber-punk.  Suzanne, first tell us a bit about yourself:


I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and, after a brief stint in Australia, I settled in Finland. Despite having a Master's degree in music, I much prefer conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. I primarily write science fiction and fantasy with a penchant for the dark and edgy.

Those re-locations sound like there might be a story to them:
When I was 15 I started listening to the Finnish metal band, Nightwish. It was a dream of mine to visit their country of origin. In 2006, I was fortunate enough to go on student exchange to Finland and I fell in love with the country. I knew that's where I wanted to live. Australia happened by happy accident as my boyfriend's parents migrated there just before I had a 9 month gap between finishing my studies in SA and heading to Finland to do my Masters. We decided to spend almost 8 months in Australia where I worked as a piano teacher. Great experience, loved living by the ocean but ultimately, I prefer the north over the sunny south so to Finland we went :)

O.K. tell us about your writing:

I am the author of the cyberpunk novel Dragon's Teeth (Divertir Publishing, 2011) and the YA science novel Obscura Burning forthcoming from Etopia Press this December. My short fiction has appeared in Niteblade, Storm Moon Press and Cast of Wonders amongst others. When not writing, I'm usually reading, catching up on favourite TV series or entertaining my shiba inu.

Now, perhaps a little bit more about your books specifically?
 
Dragon's Teeth
Cyberpunk
You can never outrun your past...
After years of war ravage the globe and decimate humanity, civilization is revitalized in the city of New Arcadia, a cybernetic playground where longevity treatments promise near immortality.Detective Cyrus, fond of fedoras and narcotics, is hired by Benji MacDowell, heir-apparent to an eugenics empire, to find MacDowell's long-lost biological father. Employing his network of shady contacts within the underbelly of the city, Cyrus uncovers a murderous web of corporate corruption and political conspiracy with ties to the old Order, a tyrannical organization whose sole intent was perfecting the next generation of genetically engineered soldiers.
Now Cyrus knows too much and finds himself caught in the cross-hairs of super-soldier assassins while the dark secrets of his past snap at his heels, forcing him to confront the truth he's been running from... and discover his own terrifying purpose

This book was largely inspired by the tech-noir film Equilibrium as well as James Cameron's TV series Dark Angel. I've always been fascinated by genetic engineering so that too provided the impetus to this story. Dragon's Teeth started out as a tech-noir short story, which grew into a novel attempt for NaNoWriMo 2010.

Obscura Burning
YA science fiction
18-year-old Kyle finds himself entangled in a quantum event, shifting between two realities and the two people he loves. Shifting along the space-time continuum is killing him. He'll have to choose one life, one love or risk being locked in a reality he'll never be able to escape.

I'm not really sure where the inspiration for this novel came from. One day I was listening to the band Explosions in the Sky and I just had this image in my mind of a desert and a boy. From there the story developed into what it is.

What are your thoughts on being an Indie author--any advice for new authors?


My advice for all new authors is to keep writing and never let rejection deter you from doing something you love. As for Indie authors, I think the biggest piece of advice I have is to do your homework when it comes to selecting an indie publisher, make sure they're right for you and your book and that they'll support your writing career.

Twitter: @Suzanne_Writer
 FACEBOOK 





October 28, 2012

Today my guest is Michael Meyer who has published four books recently, one of which is Covert Dreams.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a retired English professor. I have taught at universities literally throughout the world: Thailand, Saudi Arabia, the Virgin Islands, and I spent the last twenty-five years of my forty-year career at a California community college. I live in Southern California wine country with my wife, Kitty, and our two other cats. I love to write, read, and travel the world. I am delighted that I now have the luxury of time to devote to all three of my lifelong passions.
  
Tell us something about your writing:

COVERT DREAMS explores two very popular themes, missing persons and mind games. I think that these two themes continue to be so popular in the suspense genre because mysterious thrills have always been very attractive to people. We want to know the what, why, how, and who. Lookie-loos abound in our world. We are curious. We want answers. We hope to learn from the dread that happens to others.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have always been intrigued by the relationship the United States has had with Saudi Arabia, one of the most restrictive societies in the world, where I have been witness to the fact that life here and life there is as different as being on two separate planets. What we take here for a given is nearly always a no-no there.

The area of parapsychology has always intrigued me, and where better to deal with something such as this than in a very hidden-from-the-rest-of-the-world location. The mixture of live and let live as practiced in Bavarian Munich, coupled with the fervent zeal of Arabia, enhanced by American involvement—and the plot just seemed to thicken, drawing me into it as I wrote, without my ever knowing precisely where or how it would end, but loving every minute of it.

What do you think of being an author?

I love it. I have always been fascinated with words. For instance, when a cashier at a store wants to swipe my card, I become alarmed. Why would I want someone to swipe my card when I am swiping it? If you are going to come visit me, are you coming or going? The possibilities are endless. My Master’s thesis was on categorizing two-word verbs. There is a huge difference between snap to and snap at. Language is all-powerful. I love the magic of words, of creating scenes and dialogue that will get the reader’s rapt attention. I am like a reader as I write, excited by not knowing precisely what will happen next.

What efforts have you made to “market” your book?

Marketing my own work is difficult. I am a good writer, but I lack a lot in the area of salesmanship. I do seek out as many reviewers, interviewers, and bloggers as I can, and I am very thankful for all of these people, but every hour I spend tooting my own horn could be spent creating, my real forte. So what keeps me plugging away at telling others about my work, you might ask? The answer is found in the wonderful reactions that readers have to my work. Their excitement serves to push me forward. I like people, and it makes me happy to see that they, in turn, like what I have created.

Judging by the sites below, you are doing well with that department--









October 22, 2012


Our guest today is Julio Rafael Ortiz, who was born in Havana, Cuba on October 24, 1959. He emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1961 as a political exile. He was raised in Chicago, Illinois and Miami, Florida. Dr. Ortiz graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1985 with highest honors.  Privately, J.R. Ortiz lives with his lovely wife and four children in Coral Gables, Florida. He is an avid reader of history, economics, sociology, and political science. His interest in freedom was born from his own experiences in the Cuban diaspora and his love for America. Ortiz believes that America and what it has represented to the world since its inception, is now being eroded at home and abroad.

JR, tell us something about your books:


"American Amaranth", my first novel, was written to honor all Americans, civilian and soldier, native and foreign-born alike, who strive to make our country safe and prosperous for all our children, and who continue to believe that America is still the greatest land on the face of the earth.


Olivia, a political exile from the island of Cuba, had lost her father to Fidel Castro's Revolution. He had been executed by firing squad after the Bay of Pigs landings. Her deep emotional losses as a child had eventually led her to Dartmouth College and her studies on the origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece. Her love of America was profound and her personal concept of "American Amaranth" was carefully engrained in all her children as they grew older. Julian Stansfield had learned the truest meanings of freedom from his wife. 


In "Libertas Americana", Book Two of the American Amaranth Anthology, brothers Julius and Michael Stansfield are brought together by CIA Director Joseph Mitrano in a mission to Europe to stop a terror plot destined for the American homeland.  It follows a cast of freedom fighters as they risk their lives to stop a human calamity. Their thoughts and emotions are dissected to better understand the concepts of honor, courage, hope, love, justice, and the need for liberty. It explores the human mind and all its complexities in the eternal struggle for freedom.



What has motivated you to write these books?


The human costs of war are horrific. Men, women, and children lose their lives or are handicapped permanently. Love and hope fade quickly in the maelstrom of war.Families are torn apart and suffer emotional scars lasting lifetimes. The flower and innocence of youth is the greatest casualty. From a human perspective, there are no winners in war, only losers. Nevertheless, war seems to be a permanent aspect of human history. It is a stain on the evolutionary cloth of life.


Today, American military might lies close to their main targets of Pakistan and Iran. I would venture to say that by 2020, both these countries will be toothless. Russia and China stand by to help their "allies". Their involvement in the apparently upcoming fray is still in question. It is a greater gamble for them than for the US. I believe that Russia may come to her economic senses and move more closely to the West. Incredibly, all parties involved believe that they can win a major modern war in the 21st century. Iran and Pakistan risk total annihilation if they bring their terrorism to the American homeland. Russia and China risk civil war. America also faces great risks. Reason and rhyme seem not to be playing a part in the geopolitical strategies being considered.

Thank you.  I am sure there is much more you'd like to share with us: where should we go to find out more?

The books are available from  Amazon.
I also have a website,
and can be reached or followed at Twitter.



October 15, 2012

Today my guest is Sallie Lundy-Frommer, author of Yesterday's Daughter, "an emotionally laden paranormal vampire romance"--but it's best to hear from the author directly:



Can you tell us something about yourself?

I grew up in a huge family. Nowadays, the average American family is 2.6. But, I’m the youngest of ten children. I have six brothers and three sisters. In the rural south, large families used to be common because lots of children were needed to work the farm and because they didn’t have access to birth control. Is that too much information? (*Grin*) Anyway, when I was four years old, my family moved to the urban northeast. We moved away from the cotton fields and brutal, labored existence.
If we hadn’t moved, I have no idea who I would have become. Back then, especially among the poor, on farms working the crops was more important than education. Fast forward to today, a bunch of school, several jobs and a decade or two and viola, here I am. I’m an author.

Tell us something about your book
:

Yesterday’s Daughter is full of suspense and surprises as the plot develops. It holds a mirror to contemporary society so we can consider our feelings about people who seem different from us, the assumptions we may make about other groups, and the consequences of those assumptions. Yesterday’s Daughter is an emotionally laden paranormal vampire romance novel woven with layers of betrayal, love and loss. Grace Stone, who later learns her true identity is Sapphira, is a loner who survives abuse in the foster care system after being abandoned as a child. A brilliant student, she escapes from her brutal foster parents as a teenager and creates a life for herself. But, her life is little more than existence; plagued with questions about what she really is, a family that she has never known and the never-ending need to keep her differences hidden. She is alone and lonely, believing it will always remain so until Malachi appears in her life. Malachi, a Guardian of the vampire communities, has searched for his life mate, Sapphira, for decades. He refuses to cease searching for Sapphira even though she is believed dead by all. Conflict arises over the decades between Malachi and his family because of his refusals to accept another mate. But his very soul drives him on to continue his search, knowing that he could not exist if Sapphira were not in the world, somewhere.

What inspired you to write this book?


Inspiration? I wish I had a wonderful story to tell of how I was inspired to write “Yesterday’s Daughter.” But, I don’t. (*laughing*) There was no conscious inspiration. The source of my inspiration is in my subconscious, and that’s a whole other story…
:-) I had no plans to become a writer. I’ve always been an avid reader, but never for one second did I ever think I would write a book. I was compelled to write this book because Malachi and Sapphira wouldn’t leave me alone. I dreamt about them all the time. I listened to their conversations. I watched their adventure unfold. Once I was laid off from my day job, I no longer had a crutch, an excuse for not writing. So I began. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What do you think of being an author?

Writing, for me, is an unexpected and adventurous experience. But now it’s part of me. The characters, the stories, they take me to places and times where I meet supernatural beings, help combat evil and make friends. Being able to tell Malachi and Sapphira’s story has been a magical gift for me. So for those with a hankering to write, I say do it. Write your book, write your poems and novellas. And I’d suggest getting to know other writers. Surround yourself with those who know the craft. Join writers’ blogs and websites. And of most importance, write anything and everything in your heart.

What efforts have you made to "market" your book?

Being self-published, I’m director of marketing, too. (*smile*) I’m still learning as I go as I’m new to the self-publishing world. I make use of most popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and a bunch of others. I’ve also created a website and blog to help promote Yesterday’s Daughter but also to build relationships with other writers. In addition, I’m available for readings and signings. And, I’m always hunting for blogs and newspapers
that will interview me or review my book.

Where might we go to find out more about you, your book or how to buy it?
 
AMAZON


BOOKSAMILLION


BARNES & NOBLE


SMASHWORDS


CREATESPACE


October 8, 2012

This week I am pleased to interview a world traveler who has incorporated some of her experiences abroad into her writing--Kate McVaugh, would you please tell us a bit about yourself?



For most of my life I have worked in education, starting out as a teacher in Brazil with the Peace Corps. Since that time I have taught in California, Mexico, Israel, Egypt, Malaysia, and Vietnam. After 30 years as an educator I’m now writing full-time.

Tell us something about your books:
.
I write in different genres, and have published a mystery and two paranormal romances. The connecting factor is that almost all of my writing takes place in the foreign countries where I have lived.
I am also a travel writer whose blog posts appear on the Lonely Planet website. My travel writing is comprised of stories of the people and places I encounter when living abroad.

What inspired you to write this book/these books?

I wrote my first draft of Murder, Jaz, & Tel Aviv while I was still living in Israel. I’ve always liked mysteries and wanted to create a story that made you laugh and had a self-sufficient woman as the central figure. I also hoped to convey the experience of being a newcomer in different culture with a different language.

The Curse Breaker of Cairo arose out of my year living in Egypt. Ever since I studied ancient Egypt in elementary school, I have been fascinated with pyramids, tombs, and curses. I dreamed of one day visiting the land of the pharaohs and the Nile River. Then in 2000, I had the opportunity to live and work there. It was every bit as exotic and fascinating as I had hoped for. Add that to growing up in Northern California, where aspects of the occult and tapping into auras is a normal part of extracurricular activities, and I had the perfect combination for a story.

Nha Trang Haunted (paranormal romance, short story) came from a trip I made to Nha Trang Vietnam. The place really is haunted, which I wrote about in a blog post. I always knew I wanted to turn it into a story, but didn’t know how. When a major publisher requested submissions for a graphic, paranormal romance short, I took the opportunity to write my story. It was rejected, so I put it up on Kindle. (I’m still waiting for the first review.)

What do you think of being an author?

I’ve been inventing stories in my mind for as far back as I can remember. It took much longer until I finally wrote them down, and even longer before I let people read my work. And then the internet came along, and then Blogs, which meant I could write stories and have them published on the very same day. (but it still scares me at times, to throw my fiction out there for all the world to read.)

I love the experience of being in a totally new culture and then incorporating those events into a travel story or a piece of fiction. It is always my hope that others will be able to feel some of the wonderment, and even a little bit of the exasperation, that occurs for a traveler in a new environment.

What efforts have you made to "market" your book?

I admit that I hate the marketing aspect of being an author.. I have read articles by those who have gone the independent route and have tried their suggestions. I have two blogs – one is my travel writing, the other my author’s blog, with fairly good traffic on the travel site when I am overseas and writing regularly. I started a twitter account, but still don’t quite get it so have not been using it. 

GoodReads has been helpful in connecting with other authors, although I haven’t been very successful in getting reviews from people who received my books in a giveaway. In fact, the majority of folks who request review copies never respond after getting a book.

Where might we go to find out more about you, your book or how to buy it?

Author Blog







September 30, 2012

This week, my guest is (among other fascinating things) the author of JOURNEY OF THE NORTH STAR, Douglas J.  Penick.  The book is Historical Fiction set in China, a subject of great interest to me:

PLEASE TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF:

DJP:
  Like most people, my career, if you can call it that, has been something of a mixed bag. I was a research associate at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a chef at Gordon Matta Clark’s Food; I started an oil company, and I sold real estate. I’ve studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism for more than 40 years, and have written about and taught Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian religion, history and culture. Those are, I guess, the basics.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BE A WRITER?

DJP:
  Well, we often have a sense of something hovering on the edge of the horizon, something that feels enticing or terrifying or soothing or disturbing. Sometimes this feeling is part of what's going on and sometimes it seems completely unconnected. It's hard to communicate in language, but it's very real and it's part of what makes things feel alive. That's what I wanted to explore. Conventions and clich├ęs restrict how we use language and also how we actually experience our lives.

But what one writes comes to life, finally, inside someone else. What we write doesn't really live on the page or the screen. All writers work to create sequences in words that link into the reader's experience and produce something new for her or him. I find it inspiring to write for that kind of invisible theater.

WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE THE BOOKS YOU HAVE?

DJP:
  As it turns out, I've never been very interested in writing things that were based on the outer details of my personal life. I just never thought my life was that interesting. I studied with Chogyam Trungps Rinpoche for many years. He had a great concern with what is involved in creating enlightened society and in various rulers who worked to accomplish that. As it turned out, writing about people who acted on a huge scale but were also concerned with both essential social issues combined with the intimate elements of daily life appealed to me. I wrote English renditions of the Central Asian epic hero, Gesar of Ling. Part of this became an opera with music by Peter Lieberson that was performed in Munich (and recorded on Sony Classical) with Omar Ebrahim, Yo Yo Ma, Peter Serkin, Emanuel Ax and other great musicians. An opera, also with music by Peter, on the Emperor Ashoka got performed in Santa Fe. And although the people I've written about come from various parts of Asia, the problems they have to work to resolve are common to people everywhere and at any time.

COULD YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR NEW BOOK?

 

DJP:
  Certainly. JOURNEY OF THE NORTH STAR is about the life and world of Zhu Di, the Yong Le Emperor, who ruled in China from 1403-1424 and made China a world power. It's told by a fictional character, the Emperor's devoted eunuch slave Ma Yun. It details military campaigns, political wrangling, religious ceremonies, corruption and the philosophical foundation that underlie the Emperor's decisions. So, it's a portrait of a culture and of two men, emperor and slave, neither of whom can escape the all-consuming demands of an ancient social order, its myths and its history. In one way, it's a view of an alien world, but in another, it's a kind of mirror that enables us to look at many issues in the contemporary west in quite a different way.

WHAT EFFORTS HAVE YOU MADE TO "MARKET" YOUR BOOK?

DJP:
  You know, when I think about "marketing", I get a little... mmm... unhappy. But when I think about trying to find and develop the kind of community that ends up existing around any book, whether it's by Proust or Steven King, I find that actually exciting. Of course it comes down to finding the people who want to find you. Technological advances have made it possible to produce and distribute a book at far less cost than in the past. This means that a book with smaller sales can be quite profitable. At the same time, the internet makes it possible for us to connect with people in all kinds of circumstances and all over the world. From these points of view, it's a very good time to be a writer.

HOW CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU OR YOUR BOOKS?

DJP:
  I try to keep it as simple and manageable as possible. I'm on 




September 23, 2012


Our guest today is Uke Jackson who has written for TV as well as a day job leading a band but still thinks of himself as a writer!


I’m Uke Jackson and I’ve got 2.5 new books that came out last month:

Beach Tales is a collection of my short stories from my days as a writer for Tropic, The Sunday Miami Herald magazine. The tales are by turns sultry, mysterious, raunchy and crazy – just like South Beach.



How would you describe your books and what words of advice would you give to writers?



Lord Byron’s Coda is subtitled A Monologue on Censorship and Sensuality for a Young Thespian. The great Romantic poet expounds on his life, his suppressed (to this day) sexual memoir, and rants against an unresponsive deity. It’s never been staged, and as I mention in the introduction, is suitable for either a young man or young woman to play.



The revised first edition of The Moon of Innocence was released in July, too. There were a half dozen typos in the first edition, and I added a sentence to the penultimate chapter. It makes the scene more believable. I also did some tightening throughout. It’s a difference of a few hundred words. This is the best thing I’ve ever written (my opinion) and when a couple readers contacted me with some feedback, I looked at it again. Thanks to CreateSpace and Kindle, it easy to make such changes; though I certainly would not make a habit of doing it this way. Oh yeah, The Moon of Innocence is high tragedy set as a whodunit among the peasants of Catalonia under Franco in 1963. It’s a tale of love, death and intrigue.



Last week I wrote a blog for HuffPost Book Club about Hemingway’s influence on me as a writer. So many writers influence me. My language, pacing, tone are all assimilation of writers who have influenced me – Hemingway, Henry Miller, Marquez, Gore Vidal, Edward Abbey, Anne Rice, Lawrence Durrell, James Patterson (for pacing and chapter length, especially), Robert Graves, Balzac, Dumas. I’ll think of another dozen as soon as I send this.



Any special thoughts about marketing a book?


Marketing on the internet is difficult, to put it mildly. I put the books out there and then look for opportunities that present themselves. Since my “day job” is as a band leader, I sell more books at gigs these days than anywhere else.



My advice to other writers is: Read 3 or 4 hours for every hour you write. Willie Maugham used to say this, and he was right. If you think you can be a writer without being a reader, you’ve got another think coming.



Learn to play a musical instrument well. It will help your accuracy of expression in all areas of your life, including your writing.



Read everything aloud to yourself before submitting it anywhere.



What links should we have?



Here’s a link to my Amazon Author’s page:


Uke Jackson's web page http://www.ukejackson.com


 



September 17, 2012

Today, my guest is the author of Free from Hepatitis C, a work of non-fiction: Lucinda Porter.

I am a writer, nurse, and nationally recognized hepatitis C advocate. I took to writing as soon as I figured out that stringing words together and molding them into a certain shape was about as entertaining as anything else. I contracted hepatitis C in 1988 and most of my published work has been on that subject, along with a few poems and essays. People think because I write about hepatitis C, that I am a technical writer, but I am not. I tell stories—about living under constant assault from a virus, about hope and staying strong when most people would rather take a long nap.

Lucinda, how would you describe your book?

My book, Free from Hepatitis C discusses everything from diagnosis to cure. More people die in this country from hepatitis C than from HIV. Four million people have hepatitis C, most of them born between 1945 and 1965. However, 3 out of 4 people with this disease do not know they have it. Hepatitis C is curable, IF it is diagnosed. My book shows you how to live free from hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C treatment is long and difficult. I wrote Free from Hepatitis C because when I practiced nursing at Stanford University Medical Center, I observed that the treatment dropout rate for my patients was far below the national average, and I believe it is because my patients were well-equipped to handle treatment. As someone who has gone through treatment twice, I knew what people were going through. I put all of this information in a book, which offers practical tips based on real-life experiences.

Tell us something about being an author:

I love being an author. It is hard work, and truth be told, it is more sweat than it is talent. My advice is to write regularly, daily if you can, and don’t give up. Get support and don’t forget to take care of your health. Sitting all day is very unhealthy.

What do you think about the marketing aspect of being an author?

I am fortunate to have an agent and a publisher, and I am about to have a 2nd publisher as my agent negotiated a contract for my 2nd book. I am happy with this arrangement, but I still have to market myself. Build your platform while you are writing. I suggest starting with a blog, a Facebook page and then tweet like heck. It is amazing how quickly your base builds. I write in the morning, which is my most creative time and tweet and post in the evening.

Would you please provide some links to information about yourself and your books:

My blog and link to purchase my book is: http://lucindaporterrn.com/blog
Free from Hepatitis C may be purchased from Amazon or locally at Tomes or Bookseller
You can follow me at:
Facebook @LucindaKPorter
Facebook @FreeFromHepatitisC
Twitter @LucindaPorterRN
I also write a weekly humor blog called The Hepatitis Comics www.hepatitiscomics.blogspot.com



September 10, 2012



The Year-god's Daughter and the Thinara King entralled me and so I am delighted to interview the author, Rebecca Lochlann.  Rebecca, please start with a bit about your self:


I live near the Wasatch Mountains at the moment, but am contemplating a move to the San Juans. My husband and I are big fans of wilderness areas, and love going off the beaten path in search of secret, undiscovered places. I’ve written a series of intertwined novels, which begin in the Bronze Age Mediterranean area around the time of the famous Santorini volcanic eruption, and culminate in our near future, in the United States. Indie publishing was really my only choice, so I’m extremely grateful that the opportunity manifested. Trying to interest an agent or traditional (big) publisher in a series that covers so much ground and where something that happens in Book One could crop up again to be resolved much later in another book and era, was next to impossible. Another perk of doing this on a smaller scale is that I retain far more artistic control over the way the stories are told, the covers, and other details.



Originally, I intended the series to be a mere four books long, but I’ve succumbed to pressure to split them up because of their size. They are quite large, well over 200,000 words. In my youth this size was quite common and popular, which is why I thought nothing of writing such lengthy stories, but as the years passed, it became accepted belief that many readers would no longer tackle this kind of challenge. Recently, however, I’ve seen articles suggesting the pendulum is again swinging back, and people, especially e-book readers, are more willing to invest their time in long, complex novels. After all, a long book isn’t any heavier when you’re reading it on a Kindle or Nook.



My goal with the series (titled The Child of the Erinyes) is to offer an epic story, one that hearkens to those lovely classic myths from Greece, that gives a similar flavor and magic, yet is written in a way that will appeal to modern readers, especially those who aren’t all that familiar with the classic myths.


Specifically, what books have you published and planned? 

The Year-god’s Daughter, book one of the series, was published in November, 2011. The book I’m promoting right now is The Thinara King, book two. It came out in May, 2012. The third, In the Moon of Asterion, is very close to publication.
The first several books in the series are historical fantasy. I never categorize them as historical fiction, because, although readers are taken into real historical places and events, I do also incorporate certain paranormal aspects, such as reincarnation, the direct involvement of the gods in human affairs, my imaginary take on what might have happened to make the Knossos civilization decline and disappear (no one knows for certain) and even one character who manages to defy death completely (rather like a vampire, but I hasten to add there are no vampires in my books.) The next set of books, also historical fantasy and placed in Victorian Scotland, incorporates that country’s rich and amazing mythology while bringing in hints from Bronze Age Crete. The third set, taking place in the near future, I would categorize as speculative, or dystopian fantasy.

This series is all about how a once-great and successful society revered, elevated, and honored the female, how everything devolved to the point where females were considered nothing but chattel, where we’ve gone since then, and where we could end up. It begins in a matriarchal society and takes large leaps through history into the near future, exploring along the way my take on how women lost their early divinity, and where they might stand in an imaginary future. It does this through the eyes of just three main characters (and a few supporters) bringing the sweeping changes in the world down to a much more personal level.
  
What fueled all this creativity and work?

I’ve been an avid reader from a very early age. One of the first books I remember reading was D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. It captured my imagination wholly. This fascination continued without pause, eventually to include The Odyssey, The Iliad, and The Greek Myths, (Robert Graves). Other books expanded my horizons, including The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) The Red Tent, (Anita Diamant) We (Yevgeny Zamyatin) and last but not least, Barbara G. Walker’s The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, which transformed the way I saw the myths I’d grown up with. It was Walker who introduced me to the idea that Athene was not Greek but came from Africa, was older than the Classic Greek pantheon, was not born from Zeus’s forehead, nor was she a virgin. Those better-known ideas took hold after the time setting in my novels, and, it is theorized, were deliberately invented to diminish this very powerful goddess. My love for fantasy, which also began very young, contributed to the idea of melding magic with history, and I’ve been intensely interested in the role of women in our world since my teenage years.

Do you have any reflections on being an Indie author that you can share?


It’s a little frustrating and a lot freeing. I have a clear vision of what I want to say in my books. Thankfully, I don’t have to compromise that, which is very liberating. On the other hand, promotion and marketing are difficult, as I am a rather introverted hermit. I’ve gradually learned that the most valuable thing an author can do for her/his career is to write the next book and get it out. The more books one has available, the better people can judge whether or not your stories are right for them—especially with a series.

Ah yes, what about marketing?


I’m in the last stages of preparing the third book, In the Moon of Asterion, for publication. This will finish the Bronze Age segment of the series. When it has graduated from its final edit, is formatted and ready to go, I will conduct a marketing blitz on it and The Thinara King, with advertising and giveaways. I’m a fan of Amazon’s Select program, and will probably sign up for it again at that time. It’s a wonderful promotional opportunity.

I look forward to reading the Moon of Asterion. Do you have any thoughts that might encourage other writers?


My always-evolving philosophy is, “don’t push your work on anyone” and “don’t over-promote.” I’ve chosen a gentler approach, which I feel is more likely to bring readers who are sincerely interested in my subject matter. I try as well to never mislead anyone. I wouldn’t like for a reader to buy my book thinking they’re getting one thing only to find it’s something else altogether. My second attempt at wise words would be, “If you choose to write novels set in history, be prepared: there will always be far more research than you expect.”

There are I hope other places where we can go to find out more about your self and your writing:


My website contains much of my research material, character studies, reviews and interviews, and descriptions of upcoming books: Website
The Thinara King (Book two) at Amazon
The Year-god’s Daughter (Book one) at Amazon.

The Year-god’s Daughter Barnes & Noble:

The Thinara King Barnes & Noble:


The above links are for the ebook versions, but paperbacks are also available at the same locations.

Thanks Rachel.


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